showcasing arts based activity and ideas
I enjoyed being part of this network but it seemed to flare into being then die back very quickly. At its time of fading, a number of other networks distracted me: ecology/climate & culture networks including A Case for Optimism, Tipping Point, the Dark Mountain project, Common Cause etc and some smaller or more temporary initiatives: wellbeing/education and culture networks such as The Plays the Thing (Pat Kane http://www.playsthething.org.uk/), the Happy Museum and Education for the Crisis etc etc. There are also bigger initiatives such as Transition or Edgeryders, that don't focus on culture/arts but do admit them.
In my experience of all these networks, there are two key tensions:
- How much to focus on social or environmental justice? (And, the extent to which a focus on one is a path to solving either problem.)
- How much to focus on reflection or on action?
As our realisation of the planetary crisis deepens, I've noticed a growing preference for networks that enable action, whether that is real activism, or other kinds of activity such as publishing, therapy, platform development, skills matching, collaborative design or crowdfunding. There are so many ways to network and chat online (with Twitter linking to your own blogs/wikis working better than any Ning-type platform) people just want to use those tools to get together and make stuff happen. They don't really want to go over that old question about what is the role of art in tackling ecological problems.
I also think there's growing realisation that the fundamental crisis is that of the breached planetary boundaries caused by a global system driven to consume rather than to generate biosphere capital. Ecology is not a separate issue from social justice. If you created a platform that separated art/society from art/ecology, it may not nurture helpful synergies.
What might work is your suggestion of an RSA network on the arts, which makes no thematic or domain separations but which does acknowledge the force of the arts to change values and behaviours. I'd like to hear more about initiatives that connect creativity/design with ecological and social innovations, and to know how I can get involved. It needs something more of the spirit of crowdfunding or We Will Gather (http://www.wewillgather.co.uk/) perhaps.
You might gain more by engaging people on Twitter for a while and see what would work for them...
Hope that is helpful